Sunday, November 27, 2016

Had a minor brain fart the other day.

I would not write about something as personal as this except it isn't the act but the thought process that is interesting.

I was on the street I grew up on looking around. I have always had a pretty good eye for defilade even as a kid. We used to have apple, chestnut and snowball fights all the time in season. There were also war games and I was pretty good at all of them.

I was also looking at what time had done to the land. A few of the various lumps and piles seemed to have leveled out over the past fifty years.

I was then given a call from nature. I rolled down the street and stopped outside the entrance to an old fire road. It had not overgrown a whole lot. Apparently it had been given cursory maintenance over the years.

I looked down the fire road and spied a thicket that would serve. It was pretty much where it was a half-century ago. At the same time I was looking I took a mental inventory. Trench knife? No, but my shoes had a heel on them and I knew the ground was soft enough to heel a cat hole in seconds. Bathroom tissue? No....Hey! Wait a minute! You're not twelve years old anymore! 

The whole thought process had taken only two or three seconds until I realized it was not 1963 anymore.

Back in the day it was no big thing. As a kid I was a camper and hiker and it was pretty routine to squat in the woods. I suppose the worst thing that could have happened to me was getting seen by Miss Magoun, the old maid bird watcher that sometimes we saw in the woods. If she reported it to the police the cop would have just said he'd do something about it and promptly forgotten it in a second. 

If Miss Magoun had told my dad he would have likely told me to at least look around for the old woman the next time. It would have ended there.

Hikers and campers we were and it was no big issue. It wasn't worth a half-mile walk home to use the toilet if it meant skipping out on a chestnut fight or war game. A quick hygene break and I'd be back in business. 

Of course today as an old man if I got caught there would be hell to pay. I would probably end up on some registry. I wonder what would happen to some kid that got caught doing that today.

I slipped the clutch and started making a quick set of mental notes. The firehouse used to be open 24/7 but in this day and age there was likely some sort of electronic lock on it. Then there was the garage but the last proprietor I knew left about a decade ago when he folded his business. I didn't know the new occupants.

There was a Dunkin' Donuts fairly close so off I went.

While it was no big thing, the part that interested me is that something had happened and I had simply fallen back on my 53 year old set of instincts and training. I actually had to say to myself, "Hey! Wait a minute! You're not twelve anymore!"

It is kind of funny the way things just come back to a guy after years and years of not doing something. The last time I recall squatting in the woods was probably when I was hunting a deer for the homeless shelter, maybe fifteen years ago.

A similar instictive thing happened to me at a Springfield match at Camp Perry several years ago when everything went to hell for me in a prone rapid. My glasses fell apart when the string started and I quickly fixed them. Instead of skooching into position I realized I didn't have time so I just hit the dirt, wiggled for a second and opened fire. I worked the bolt like a madman and almost caught up but my reload clip fell apart. I crammed the loose rounds into the magazine and fired the last five rounds as fast as I could. I fired a total of 10 fast snap shots.

When the smoke cleared I had 5Xs, two tens, two very tight nines and an eight at twelve o'clock. The eight was fired when the targets were being lowered. My final score was a 96-5X.

This was not  a winning score but it was pretty damned good shooting under the circumstances. Later that night a Master Gunnery Sergeant told me that he didn't think any of the marines on his team could do that well under the circumstances.

I had not followed anything but my instinct and previous GI training. I had pretty much ignored everything I learned as a competitive shooter. I was behind the 8-ball and had simply reacted.

It is funny how some things just become instinctive and stay with us for life.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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